Back in 1975 I voted to leave what was then the European Common Market. For me there was really only one issue at stake then as there is now with regard to the coming referendum on our membership of the European Union and that is sovereignty.
We have a long history of fighting for parliamentary democracy in our country.
It has taken several centuries to reach a state where all adults have the right to vote for our political leaders and to remove them if we so wish. Parliament – until recently – has had absolute control over our laws and taxes. Parliament is answerable to us.
Under EU rules we have to accept the supremacy of EU laws over our national laws. Many new laws and regulations are foisted on to us each year with little or no scrutiny from our elected politicians. For many European countries this may not sound so bad – after all, many of them have only recently experienced democracy having been part of authoritarian empires or dictatorships for hundreds of years.
For us the sacrifice of sovereignty is a serious matter which we make at our peril.
As for economics it is not an exact science. Tomorrow may bring hardship or plenty. Our leaders made a hash of the world economy in 2008. It could happen again – with or without the EU. As for human rights and progressive labour laws a truly independent Britain would be in a position to keep or amend such laws – but they would be our laws, and if we wished to change them we could always vote in a government the majority wanted. Immigration may be a good thing or not but free from the EU we could decide for ourselves. That is democracy.
Outside the EU we would still be part of NATO, we would still be trading with any country willing or needing to trade with us. Life would go on. The world would still be spinning. I will be voting to leave the EU.
John de Waal
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